Cops Used Confidential Database to Gather Information on Police Board Member Critical of Department

In what civil rights and privacy experts are calling an extremely egregious example of police abusing their power, cops in California accessed a highly confidential state law enforcement database at least nine times to gather information on an elected official who was critical of the police department.

The documents exposing the abuse were released under the state’s new police accountability law. They show multiple officers, whose names have been redacted, used the confidential state law enforcement database to obtain records on police board member Vanessa Cordova in 2014 and 2015. The released records also show these database searches were used more frequently than Kensington, California officials acknowledged.

One search occurred the day before two cops, Juan Ramos and Keith Barrow, pulled her over in Berkeley on Oct. 7, 2015. Cordova claimed they harassed her. Both officers were disciplined for the stop and a judge dismissed the tickets.

Experts say these cops can spy on anyone in the state and they suspect that egregious abuse is going on all the time.



Photo: “bullet proof vests : san francisco police officers (2012)” by torbakhopper is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0